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#47 How To Get Your Patients To Open Your Email

May 23rd, 2020

Information Explored in this Podcast:

The following is just some of the information that we’ve covered in this podcast, in case you wanted to skip ahead and explore a specific topic.

  • Use a Killer Subject Line [2:06]
  • Not Be Boring [5:40]
  • Strip Down All Your Graphics [8:51]
  • Talk to Them Like a Friend [11:01]
  • Study the Herd and Do the Opposite [12:08]
  • Make it Visceral [12:54]
  • Don’t Ask Them to Buy, Click or Act – Tell Them! [13:34]
  • Segment Your Emails to Different Lists [16:20]
  • Use Visuals [16:43]
  • Don’t Forget to Track Results [17:16]

If you liked this episode and you want to stay updated on the latest strategies to grow and scale your practice, subscribe to our Podcast Channel and you will never miss a beat!

Links Mentioned in the Podcast:

Automated Webinar Sales Funnel Course: https://onlinemarketingfordoctors.com/webinar-sales-funnel-course/

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Hi, I'm Huyen
Our work (and this site) is devoted to sharing ideas, tools and resources that will help you automate, grow and scale your practice.


Learn More



Running a practice is about more than just seeing patients. You are a full-fledged business manager, handling all the challenges that come with that responsibility.

For many practices, one of the most overwhelming aspects of running a business is marketing.

Today’s modern patients are researching their healthcare options more than ever. They are reading reviews online, visiting multiple websites, and checking out their choices on social media before settling on a doctor.

But even after they’ve selected you, you’re still not safe. According to Solution Reach, around one in three patients say they will likely switch practices in the next couple of years. Ouch.

Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to improve your marketing today, and one of the easiest ways I’d recommend, is that you start with email.

In today’s podcast, we’ve going to talk about 10 Easy Ways to Attract & Retain Patients With Emails


Podcast Intro


Studies show that the ROI (return on investment) for email is a whopping 122 percent! And with the availability of easy-to-use email templates and automation services, email is a quick and easy way to reach patients. In fact, sending marketing emails to your patients to educate or promote services is just good business practice.

In order to send emails that help you attract and retain patients, there are a few things you should keep in mind. So without further ado, here are 10 tips to writing (or improving!) your patient emails.

  1. Use a killer subject line

Everyone has an inbox that is constantly being filled with work requests, newsletters or coupons, and the one thing that keeps us from hitting the archive button on any of them is the subject line. There are a few things to remember when writing your subject line.

  • Spark curiosity: It should entice the reader to open the email and read more. Make it fun and relevant to your email content.
  • Keep it simple: Your subject line shouldn’t be more than 50 characters. Ideally no more than five words.
  • Be descriptive: Sometimes it’s best to be direct but not repetitive.
  • Don’t over promise: Using clickbait tactics, which trick patients into opening your email, might work the first time but it won’t have lasting effects long term.


Do you know what was the subject line for the highest opened and highest earning email in history?


Who sent it?

President Barack Obama

Really, it’s true. It was that casual, straightforward, and highly “unprofessional” greeting coming from the man who commanded arguably the most powerful office in the world. Straight from the head honcho who was (at the time) the president of the United States. So that explains a huge part of its success. I mean, honestly, how often do you get an email from the president just saying “hey”. But the better question is, “who wouldn’t open it?”


That wasn’t the only unusual email that played an integral role in Obama winning re-election. Other subject lines included “Join me for dinner” “It’s officially over”, “it doesn’t have to be this way” or just “Wow”.

All very personal, and they relied heavily on curiosity and intrigue to get the user to open it. The Obama campaign raised $690 million online. The majority of it came from fundraising emails that peppered inboxes for a two-year period. They employed a team of 20 writers and a sophisticated analytics system to measure and improve their effectiveness.

The campaign would test multiple drafts and subject lines - often as many as 18 variations — before picking a winner to send out to their tens of millions of subscribers.

The lessons from Obama’s master email marketing campaigns aren’t just a recipe for politics or making money, but for winning eyeballs in the brutal death match to grab your attention in the inbox.


Compare that to all those commercial messages, coupons, and sales emails you get. How many of those do you open?

One out of every ten? Or worse, do they just sit and rot in your spam folder?

What's the difference? And how can you write emails that always get opened? Think about your email inbox for a moment. When you fire it up for the first time every day, what do you do?

Check, check, check, check, check... Delete!

You delete everything that appears to be promotional or commercial, and that you know is safe to delete. Why is it safe to delete those emails?

Because you know, from reading them in the past, that they are promotional, commercial, and generally speaking, a complete waste of your time.


So our 2nd tip, is to not be boring, but entertaining with your emails

Now that we’ve got them opening our email the first time, how do we guarantee more email openings in the future.

I'm going to show you the single most important element to get anybody to open your emails.

Every media, whether it’s Facebook, Google Ads, or email, comes with context. Typically speaking, when it comes to email, nobody wants to be emailed a commercial message from a business. They only want to hear from their friends.

Your task, then, is to sound as much like their trusted friend, colleague, or family member... without using trickery or being gimmicky... or worse, lame.

Because if we don’t get it right, we'll lose their trust, and your emails will never be opened again. And as result, over time you'll develop a bad sender score, and even worse… email blindness.


Email blindness is when someone’s email is there in your inbox, but it has been mentally written off as a waste of time. You’ve probably opened two or three of those emails in the past and have gotten no real value from them or they bored you to death. So, over time you don’t even see those emails anymore when you scan your list. They become Invisible.

The chances are pretty good that your emails are likely causing email blindness for your readers. How can you tell? Well, are you happy with your open rates?

If you are not, you’re causing email blindness. And there is only one cure to this email blindness is to write emails that entertain, excite and engage your readers.

The number one thing I fear when I send out an email is that it will be boring.

People live boring lives. They are constantly scrolling through Facebook and Instagram wanting to be entertained and inspired. They have ordinary friends, with ordinary jobs and ordinary routines.

They are bored!

Don’t add to this by writing limp, boring and dull emails that put your readers to sleep.

Be that person in their life who brings them some spice, some entertainment and excitement to their lives. Do not be boring.


Make it so every time your readers see your name pop up in their inbox, they get a tiny little of excitement that makes them want to read your emails.

Do this and they will be waiting for your next email, looking forward to receiving it; and when they do see your name appear in their inbox, they'll almost stumble over themselves in a rush to see what you have to say... and to get a hit of that dopamine.

This becomes a positive anchor towards you, your name and your business.

The takeaway being, nothing will increase the number of enquiries your emails bring in more than writing exciting and entertaining copy that spices up the life of your readers.


Now moving on to tip number 3...

Strip down all your graphics

While your email subject line is one of the primary ways to get an email opened, the design of your email is how you get it read.

You might think that beautifully designed email containing lots of images, animated-buttons and a HTML-enhanced responsive theme would increase the amount that people will read your emails and then click through your desired actions.

But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Contrary to popular advice, your email shouldn’t look “beautiful”, with heavy images and sexy graphics. Why not? Firstly, who do you think sends these types of heavy emails with a lot of images – individuals or businesses with commercial intent? Businesses!

People see email as a one-to-one communication tool, and when was the last time you got a beautifully designed HTML-enhanced email from a friend about something important? Simple plain text emails seem to reflect the personal nature of email, while HTML-enhanced emails scream ‘commercial mass marketing’.


This is not just common sense. It’s backed up by research and data. Digital marketing behemoth HubSpot researched the idea of HTML versus plain text emails. To summarise their findings, they too found that HTML emails actually decreased both their open and clickthrough rates.

Aside from proper list segmentation, nothing boosts opens and clicks as well as an old school, plain-text email.

Why? It’s simple. Plain text emails look more authentic and less commercial than HTML-enhanced emails. In addition, email filters are smart enough to weed out over-enhanced emails from plain text emails- so it helps with your deliverability too.

Takeaway: Send more plain text emails rather than HTML-enhanced emails.

Now moving on to the 4th tip

#4... Talk to them like a friend

So, how do you cut through, get noticed, and eventually sell to your list? First up, write conversationally and don’t try to sell them straight out of the gate. Instead, focus on getting your message read first. The only way to do that is to make your emails more personal.

Just write like you would to a friend. It’s just fine to start an email with ‘Hey there’. Let people into your lives a bit, show them your personality, as quirky as it might be.

This is the opposite to how most companies write emails. Their writing screams, ‘I'm trying to sell you!’

Use short sentences and write the way you talk, Good email copywriting is not super-dense technical stuff. The last thing you want is an overwhelming wall of text when someone opens your email. You want your emails to look approachable. Lots of small paragraphs, or even better, single lines of copy.


  1. Study the herd and do the opposite

Think of the landscape and context in which the reader will read your email. Will it be seen — or ignored — in a sea of other emails vying for their attention?

How can you make them pick you? Look at the promotions tab or spam folder of your inbox right now. Most of the emails you'll find there will be doing the exact same thing. The subject lines will be the same length, the same casing, the same kind of tone — maybe even the same emojis in the subject line. If other people are going long, then go short. Study what these people from spam and promotion tab on your email are doing — and do the opposite.


  1. Make it visceral: bring your email copy to life with specifics

Vague copy is a one-way ticket to inflicting email blindness on your reader. Take a look at the simple edits you can make to turn vague copy into specific copy. Notice how much more powerful this specific copy is:

Boring: “You’ll lose weight and look great”

Specific: “You’ll finally be able to fit into that sexy little black dress and turn heads wherever you go….and even be the envy of all your friends.”


  1. Don’t ask them to buy, click or act – tell them!

The call to action is a command. Be specific and tell them exactly what to do - don’t ask them! It means using proven phrases like these...

  • Go ahead and check this out now.
  • Claim your spot here.
  • Click here and I'll tell you what it’s all about.
  • Sign up here and you will discover...


This is an NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) technique called an ‘embedded command’, and it’s used for planting a thought (state, process, experience, or action) within the mind of the reader, beneath their conscious awareness. The purpose of using embedded commands is to move your reader’s mind in the direction you want it to go without seeming to be intruding or ordering in any way.

Whatever you want your reader to do, don’t ask them to do it-tell them.

Before our final 3 quick tips, we got this special message for you...


Webinar Promo (the new one) https://www.dropbox.com/s/b23qmvsbk55nxhk/Webinar%20Launch%20Audio%20Commercial.mp3?dl=0



Welcome back.  Now...coming back to our final 3 quick tips on how to retain and attract more patients with email…

  1. Segment your emails to different lists

Only send your email to patients where the message is relevant to them. If you don’t segment your email list and repeatedly blast everyone, patients will start ignoring and unsubscribing to your emails. Some easy ways to segment your email list is by using demographics, location, care needs, or exam type.


  1. Use visuals

Pictures or videos are an easy way to break up blocks of text. Readers are also more likely to be read, understand, and engage with your message when pictures or videos are used.  Remember though what we said about plain text emails, don’t go crazy with the visuals either.  They should be subtle and lacking invasiveness.  They should help reinforce the journey of your email, as a vital component of it, not there just to make it look pretty.

  1. Don’t forget to track results

By tracking email performance, you will have an advantage to change tactics or improve your next email. Basic metrics to track are:

  • Open rate
  • Click-through rate
  • Deliverability rate

Open rate is the number of opens divided by the total number of emails sent. It is often a good indicator of how successful your subject line is. Click-through rate is the number of clicks on links in your email divided by the total number of emails sent. Email layout and call to action placement will affect the click-through rate. Deliverability rate is the actual emails arrived at their destination divided by the total delivered emails. Removing invalid and non-active emails from your list will improve your deliverability rate.

Implementing these ten simple tips into your email marketing will help increase ROI, build brand awareness, and strengthen relationships with your patients.


So, there you have it. You've learned the key elements and strategies you need to use to create great emails from scratch that will bring in the enquiries and sales. And you’ll see it done in days or weeks, instead of the years and years of pain it took me.

Getting email right is the best investment you'll ever make in your business. It can be your secret weapon like it is ours.


To recap...your breakthrough email checklist is;

  • Make sure you use a personal sender name.
  • Start by send your emails on Tuesdays at 10 am (the average best time for an particular industry) – but you’ll need to test this day and time against your own list, with our audience, we usually send out Mondays at 6 am
  • Make your subject lines around 5 words in length
  • Write preheader text that burns with intrigue
  • Above all, write emails that entertain, excite, and engage your readers.
  • Make your emails plain text instead of visual masterpieces.
  • Talk to readers as you would your best friend.
  • Make your emails about your readers — not just about yourself.
  • Study the herd and do the opposite.
  • Make it visceral and bring your email copy to life with specifics.
  • Don’t ask them to buy, click or act. Tell them!

Huyen: Well, unfortunately our special podcast today has come to an end, if you want to learn more about how to make email marketing generate new patients for your practice, please contact us at contactus@onlinemarketingfordoctors.com and our team of specialists will guide you through all of the ways we can help, and show you how to ultilise email to engage and attract new patients to your practice.

Thank you very much for your time, if you liked our Podcast, please kindly give us a review rating on itunes or Sticher. That will mean a lot to us and keep our motivation going to continue producing great podcasts for our audience.

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